New research reveals complex Ghanaian mobile and internet usage patterns

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Recently published research by InterMedia has uncovered internet penetration in the country of 4%. However, that looks set to rise rapidly because the survey predated the recent arrival of new international cables that are set to bring cheaper fixed and mobile internet connectivity to users. Four cables - Glo One, Main One, WACS and ACE - now serve the country and are set to radically alter the penetration picture.

That penetration level is borne out by research from BuddeComm, which reports a figure of 4.9% or 1.1m users for 2008. BuddeComm also reported that there are 140 licensed ISPs in the country and mobile penetration had risen to 51% of the population in the same year as fixed line penetration fell to 1.2%. The number of mobile phones in the country now exceeds fixed lines by a ratio of 40:1.

Pricing and bandwidth availability have constrained internet activity among the research's sample group with the majority of users engaging in email and web research. However, 15% of respondents claimed to use the internet for watching and downloading video, 14% using for games and 15% visit social networking sites.

Mobile internet usage is only occurring among a very small section - 3% of the population but 11% of the sample had used radio via their mobile device. SMS had been used by 16% of respondents to receive news and information in the last week but 44% do not use SMS - most likely due to poor literacy. 14% stated they never use it, while 30% said they could only use SMS with difficulty.

Anthony Plewes

After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.